More than 100 people packed into an amazing public meeting in Worthing’s Charles Dickens pub on July 6 to voice their support for the high-profile campaigners - with the biggest cheers and heartfelt gratitude reserved for the campers themselves, who have physically put themselves on the line in their attempt to stop the bulldozers destroying this precious piece of ancient woodland on the edge of our sprawling borough. Backing from the Worthing public has exceeded all expectations, with a steady flow of donations and enthusiastic visitors to the tree camp site to the east of Titnore Lane, Durrington. And messages of support have been flooding in from near and far to campaign group Protect Our Woodland!, which has been spearheading the Save Titnore Woods campaign over the last five years.
Here is just a sample of the sort of things people have been saying:
“Heartily approve of your brave actions and hope the 250 trees can be saved. A scandal.”
“This proposed development is outrageous and should be stopped at all costs, and saved for future generations.”
“I think the intended development is inexcusable, unsustainable and inappropriate. I think it is disgusting and despicable that even after the protests and opposition, the Somerset family stand firm on destroying something that should be left alone to be enjoyed by everyone.”
“I am very angry about the proposed development of that area which is ill-conceived at the very least even if you weren’t interested in the history and natural aspect of the argument.”
“Nothing short of a crime against humanity.”
“You have my support in your endeavours, for what it’s worth - regrettably advancing years and accompanying decrepitude prevent me from doing more than cheering from the sidelines.”
“I see no reason whatsoever that can justify this proposed development. The woodlands around Titnore Lane are superb and part of our heritage that should be protected for future generations.”
“We are appalled by the current development proposals that involve destruction of ancient woodland and ‘improving’ Titnore Lane so that any rural character is destroyed. We fully support the current protest.”
The situation is now changing on a daily basis at Titnore Woods. Help may be urgently needed at any time. Keep up to date on:
Camp Titnore page
Protect Our Woodland!
Camp phone: 0780 4245324
ARROGANT Worthing Borough Council is deliberately snubbing hundreds of residents who have written pleading for Titnore Woods to be saved. In a statement to a local campaigner responding to a request under the Freedom of Information Act, interim chief executive Ian Lowrie admits the council received 400 letters in June alone - and have only bothered to reply to one of them! This is despite the letters specifically requesting an acknowledgement and reply from the council.
The letter from Mr Lowrie, dated June 29, stated: “Over the period you identify the Council received approximately 400 letters from the public opposing the West Durrington development. As far as I am aware, one of these received a reply, but once it was obvious that there was to be a very large number of identical pre-printed letters coming into the Council, it was decided to take a collective, rather than individual, approach to responding. This is being done by placing the response on the Council’s website for the information of all interested parties.” So what if you aren’t on the internet? How are you supposed to know the letter is there? And if the council has received hundreds of identical pre-printed letters, what is to stop it sending out hundreds of identical pre-printed replies?
In the website statement, Mr Lowrie says: “I have passed all such letters to our Planning Officer and they will be recorded as letters of representation on the application file.” And yet in his letter, he refers to “approximately 400 letters”. Approximately? Does this mean the council has not even bothered to count the letters, let alone reply to them or, heaven forbid, take any notice of their content? Is this the attitude of a responsible and democratic local authority that listens to and cares about the opinions of the people that pay for its existence - the local council tax payers?
If you have an opinion on this, or you would still like a reply to a letter you sent in about Titnore Woods, why not write to Mr Lowrie at Town Hall, Chapel Road, Worthing, West Sussex BN11 1LA. Tel 01903 239999, Fax 01903 237504? Email email@example.com (he’s also boss of Adur council). If he still doesn’t reply, we suggest you keep on trying until he does! Isn’t that what we pay him to do?
Saturday August 12
12 noon: Mass cycle ride, meet Goring railway station
2pm: Protest at Worthing Pier
Bring banners, placards, whistles
In the circumstances, you would have thought that Worthing Borough council would have its work cut out trying to defend the town from these threats and help us to hold on to the things that we have already got that may be wrenched from us. But no, instead it is wasting its time on a fancy scheme to redevelop the whole of the town centre, which it is calling the Worthing Town Centre and Seafront Masterplan. With everything else going on, this major change to the face of Worthing is in danger of sneaking in through the back door without anyone noticing. Visitors to an exhibition staged by the council were treated to a glossy brochure full of glossy language and very little of any substance on which to base their opinions, which have to be handed in by July 28. The tone of this is best summed up by its mission statement: “The Masterplan seeks to transform the image of Worthing: a town by the sea not just a seaside town”. You what?! Has there ever been a more meaningless sentence written in the English language?
The detail is no better. For instance, we learn that “the shared vision is for a town that fulfills many roles”. This includes it being “a sustainable town - a place that will meet current and future needs” and “an inclusive town - a place with something for everyone”. Like a hospital, perhaps? The reality of the plan seems to be lots and lots of redevelopment all over the place. And who will this benefit? There is a clue on the front page where it announced that “there is a need for change to make the town a more successful and attractive place to live, work and invest”. Invest? Our dictionary defines this word as meaning “to lay out money or capital with the expectation of profit”. And that tells you all you need to known about the masterplan for Worthing being foisted on us by Worthing Borough Council and its many, many friends in the property development business.
* WE’RE thinking of selling Worthing Borough Council a catchy new marketing catchphrase: “WBC: a council without a soul, not just a soulless council.”
shows three bypasses, including the notorious Newbury bypass, attracted extra traffic and led to more cars and lorries flowing onto local roads as a result. Ian Brookes of South Coast Against Roadbuilding said: “We have always maintained that road building creates more traffic and climate change gases and damages the wider environment.” And Rebecca Lush, co-ordinator of campaign group Road Block, said: “These are very costly and irreversible mistakes. We must end roadbuilding that fuels traffic growth.”
Take, for instance CCTV cameras - there are around 4.2 million in the UK, more than anywhere else in the world except possibly China - and the way the information they record is increasingly being filed on databases. In an interview in The Guardian (June 20), Professor Clive Norris of Sheffield University highlighted plans for a network of automatic number-plate readers, linked to CCTV. He said: “Every vehicle that enters certain cities can have its number plate logged, with the ultimate aim of creating a national network. They’ve asked for information to be stored for two years so that there will be a permanent record that can be searched retrospectively.” He warned: “What we are seeing is the evolution of the information society into the surveillance society.”
And it’s not just what we’re physically doing that the powers-that-be want to monitor and record. An alarming piece in The Guardian on the very same day introduced one Steve Quartz, a California scientist whose life work is to use functional brain imaging to find out what is going on inside our heads. His noble purpose at the moment is to help Hollywood studios find out what makes people like or dislike the films they are trying to sell us, but he has a vision for the future, where his brain imaging technology “will move on to applications in the political realm, or the economic realm, or the legal realm.” We just can’t wait.
Published and printed by The Porkbolter, PO Box 4144, Worthing BN14 7NZ. No copyright, no skyscrapers in our vision.